Neighbours has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this last week, and I will address that issue later on, because it’s important and it needs to be talked about. But first, here’s my weekly round-up of the UK episodes.
Farewell to Fay
As ridiculous as Neighbours is at times, it can also deal with sensitive subjects really well, and Fay’s final scenes are no exception. After she develops an infection due to accidentally inhaling some chocolate while ticking off one of her bucket list activities, Fay is informed by Clive that she only has days to live. She deteriorates quickly, and Aaron and Chloe are faced with the heartbreaking reality of saying goodbye to their mum. Roxy has the idea of setting up an outdoor cinema for them, and Fay, Aaron and Chloe sit and watch some of their old home movies together in the garden as one final thing for Fay to tick off her bucket list. The next day, she sadly dies, with her family by her side. It was all handled really sensitively and brought a couple of tears to my eyes – and I’m dead inside, so that’s quite an achievement. April Rose Pengilly and Matt Wilson deserve some praise for portraying the sense of loss and shock so convincingly too, with Aaron lashing out at David and Chloe attempting to seek some comfort by putting the moves on Nicolette. It’s surely not going to be long before those two get together and make the Brennan/Tanaka family dynamics exceptionally complicated.
Nobody is Ever Thirsty in Erinsborough
We have a new set! And it’s another place to buy drinks – seriously, everyone in Erinsborough must be very well hydrated. There’s a hotel with a terrace restaurant and pool bar, a coffee shop, a pub, and a disused tram café, plus there’s a juice bar at Sonya’s nursery, if that still exists. So what Erinsborough needed like a hole in the head was yet another place to get liquid refreshment. But that hasn’t stopped Paul and Terese from opening some sort of bizarre beach bar, which appears to consist mainly of a garden shed, some sand, deck chairs and a few plastic flamingoes. Couldn’t they think of another kind of business? In Erinsborough you can get your car fixed and drink a lot of alcohol and coffee, then there’s a police station and a lawyer for the inevitable drink driving charge you’re going to end up with, plus a community centre for your driving awareness course afterwards. What about a shop? They were talking about a clothes boutique, that would have been quite fun. We occasionally see the day spa, so it might have been nice for that to become more permanent. I can think of loads of things they could have made, other than a bar. But anyway, we ended up with another bar, presumably because Shoxy don’t want to go drinking in the pub where they both work. I might be a little bit salty about the Flamingo Bar, but it did give us the Bombshell and the Crone, and I’m always ready for some crazy Sheila behaviour, so perhaps I can overlook it for now.
Dipi and Shane Are Off to Sydney
Dipi and Shane have been back together for about ten minutes, and have decided that now’s a great time to chuck in Dipi’s business, Shane’s job and his university course so they can move to Sydney. I’m kind of sad to see Shane go, but I’m over Dipi now. Sharon Johal is a good actor, and she’s very beautiful so I do enjoy looking at her face, but Dipi has been getting progressively more boring as a character for ages. She was briefly interesting when she had the affair with Pierce, but she’s just gone back to being an overly concerned, mumsy bore, so I can’t say I’ll be too sad to see her go to Sydney. She did say to Yashvi that they would come back, but we all know that is probably a lie.
Dr Karl for the Clink?
Olivia is still hanging around like a bad smell, hassling Susan into collaborating on her book with her. Susan backs out, which causes a big financial issue for Olivia, as the advance from her publisher is dependant on Susan’s cooperation. Karl is furious that Olivia keeps pestering Olivia, and has a couple of pretty public arguments with her, before his best buddy Hendrix tips him off that she’s on her way to hassle Susan at the school. Karl doesn’t appear to be needed at either the hospital or the tram, presumably he took the day off to harangue Olivia in various places around Erinsborough, because he heads straight for the school to confront her before she gets to Susan. An argument ensues, and Olivia ends up falling down the stairs and into a coma. Nobody ever just bangs their head or sprains their wrist in Erinsborough, do they? It’s either surviving some sort of disaster without a single scratch or life-threatening organ failure/coma/poisoning (delete as appropriate). Hendrix thinks he’s doing the right thing by lying to Levi about why Karl is at the school, because telling him he went to yell at Olivia looks suspicious, but what he actually does by lying is make the whole situation worse. When Karl comes clean that Hendrix lied, it makes it look even more likely that Karl pushed her down the stairs. Olivia is, of course, a vindictive shrew, so when she wakes up from her coma she wastes no time telling Levi that Karl pushed her. Also, nice police work from Levi there, interviewing Olivia with Karl and Susan in the room. I’m almost positive the police don’t usually invite the person they suspect of assaulting you into the room while they ask you what happened.
Sorry to end on a downer, but I’ve patted Neighbours on the back more than once for their steps towards having a more inclusive cast, so I feel like it wouldn’t be right for me not to address the accusations of racism on the set which came to light this week. After a stint on the show, Aboriginal-Australian actor Shareena Clanton has spoken out about some very alarming racist behaviour on set, including incredibly unacceptable language being used by white actors. Previous star Meyne Wyatt also spoke of his experiences on the show, which sound like they were horribly similar to Shareena’s. The Neighbours producers initially responded with a bit of a wishy-washy statement, but have since ordered an independent review of the allegations. I hope that the investigation will be thorough and that it will be acted on, and that it isn’t just being done so they can be seen to be doing something, because I am so deeply disappointed to hear that this kind of thing happens on the set of Neighbours. Racism is not acceptable from anyone, and I don’t care who the actors were who were heard using racist slurs, whoever it was they should be gone. People need to be shown that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Everyone is welcome on Ramsay Street? It doesn’t sound to me like Shareena or Meyne were made to feel very welcome. That needs to change.